“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” Thomas Campbell, a poet, once stated these insightful words.

Patriotism is a large subject and can have a variety of meaning from one person to another. A patriot should feel pride wherever they are because patriots unite and inspire one another. Patriotism is giving love and support to your country, showing veterans respect, and sacrificing for your country.

Being a patriot means showing love and support for your country. This can be expressed by simply waving an American flag, shooting off fireworks on the Fourth of July, or standing proud during the national anthem. Many men and women sacrificed their lives so we could enjoy the freedom that we have today.

Recently I attended the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game. Prior to the game, they invited the entire stadium to join in the singing of our national anthem. The harmony of all of those patriots joining in unison sent shivers down my spine. A flyover by our heralded Air Force fighter pilots raised the hair on my neck. At that moment, I was proud to be an American.

Equally impressive was the announcement of one of our heroed veterans between the third and fourth quarters. As the announcer spoke of his accomplishments overseas, the crowd of 65,000 erupted with a standing ovation. These are acts of patriotism because we are showing honor to those who have served our country and gave us our freedoms.

Being a patriot is getting together and putting flags on veterans’ graves in their local cemetery. My grandfather, David Betz, was a veteran who was stationed in Korea in 1956, following the Korean War. My mother’s cousin took her son, Owen, to the cemetery where my grandfather is buried in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The 10-year-old placed flags on all of the graves of veterans for Memorial Day. My grandmother and mom were so touched when they received a wonderful picture of the boy putting flags in the ground at the sight of my grandfather’s gravestone. That was the first Memorial Day since my grandfather passed, and we all found this as a blessing. Owen has continued this tradition annually.

This is being a patriot because it is showing respect for those who have passed. It also is patriotic because it is showing love to the families of those who served and may have lost their lives in battle.

Being patriotic is sacrificing for your country. This doesn’t only mean having to sacrifice their life. They can sacrifice their time as well.

A nurse, Heather, works with my mother and is from Meadville, Pennsylvania. She maintained a part-time job while raising two young children under the age of 4 when her husband, Casey, was deployed in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait for 18 months. They communicated through Skype, and it was a major challenge for their entire family. They suffered a great burden, while only asking for his safety in return.

This shows patriotism because he gave a huge part of himself to support and protect our country. Heather is also being a patriot because she has to work harder as a parent and take care of their children by herself as well as love her husband from a distance. Additionally, she is giving up something she loves for her country. Heather supported her husband and country by wearing a red, white, and blue bracelet and raising a flag at her home.

Patriotism is supporting your country, showing veterans honor and admiration, and giving up important things in your life for your country. Our country was formed through the fundamentals of patriotism and continues to prosper based on the patriotic acts of many people today.

Katelyn Young, the daughter of Michael and Sharon Young of Saegertown, was the winner of the Pennsylvania American Legion Essay Contest through Legion Post 205 in Saegertown.

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